Month: April 2014

Week 3: cautious optimism and crosstraining


I’ve spent most of this week resting my shins:

  • Sunday 20th April – rest day (I barely moved)
  • Monday 21st April – hot yoga
  • Tuesday 22nd April – kettlebells
  • Wednesday 23rd April – LAB (Legs, Abs, Booty – awful, awful name, good class for running fitness)
  • Thursday 24th April – rest day
  • Friday 25th April – gentle run (woohoo!)
  • Saturday 26th April – hot yoga

I went for a very gentle run on Friday to see if 11 days rest had made any difference to my shins. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m mended – I didn’t have any pain while I was running, and just felt ‘aware’ of my shins after, rather than actually feeling any pain.

It was probably my slowest run in years. I was nervous about my shins and incredibly stiff and sore from kettlebells and LAB. (Standing up made me wince, going up stairs made me groan, and I was doing an involuntary pimp walk.) I was really surprised by just how stiff I was – not crosstraining regularly for the last month or so has obviously hit my strength a lot. I’ve bought a cheapo TRX-style trainer (pictured above) so I can do loads of pistol squats etc at home, so I’ve got no excuse not to keep up the habit.

I have a place in the Bluebell 10k tomorrow, and I’m going to give it a go. There’s a very real chance that I’ll finish last. Better a bruised ego than bruised shins though.


Week two: sore shins, flat tyre


It’s been a frustrating week, training-wise:

  • Sunday 13th – 1hr 40min long slow run
  • Monday 14th – vinyasa flow yoga, 40 minute bike ride
  • Tuesday 15th – hot yoga, 20 minute bike ride
  • Wednesday 16th – 20 minute bike ride
  • Thursday 17th – 40 minute bike ride
  • Friday 18th – hot yoga, 50 minute bike ride
  • Saturday 19th – 10 minute bike ride, core work.

Not a lot of running in there, unfortunately, because I’ve got shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome as I think you’re supposed to call it.

Whatever the name for it, in week two of my training, I’m on a running hiatus, buried beneath the improvised ice packs in the picture. I’m also avoiding cross-training, as the classes I normally do tend to involve lots of star jumps, box jumps, burpees and mountain climbers, which are not shin-friendly. I’ve even had to stop walking to work and start cycling in.

I’ve had problems with my shins for almost a year now, Rest, ice baths, new shoes, exercises and sports massages have provided temporary relief, but nothing has got rid of it. They were pretty bad after Brighton Half in February, so I eased back on my mileage a lot to give them a chance to heal. I started to up my mileage and pace over the last few weeks, and low and behold, my shins have started to hurt again.

Like an idiot, I did my long run anyway on Sunday. They hurt during the run, which should have been a danger sign as I tend to only get pain after a run, but I carried on. Now they’re really sore and tender – banging them is so painful that I’ve genuinely considered wrapping my legs in bubble wrap.

I hate not being able to run. I wanted to go for a long bike ride today, in lieu of a long run, but I got a flat, which was incredibly frustrating. I had a full-on sulk when it happened and sat on a bench for ages feeling hatefully jealous of all the runners going past me, enjoying the beautiful weather.

On the plus side, I’ve remembered how fun cycling is (when the weather’s good at least) and fallen back in love with my beautiful bike too. I can actually cycle all the way up the the hill to my house – a good sign that my fitness is better than it was when I last rode my bike regularly.

Hopefully another five or six days of rest will do the trick, and I’ll be up and running again. It’s made me realise how important it is to stay injury-free throughout the marathon training process. I need to treat my shins with a bit more respect if I want them to carry me for 26.2 miles.

Week 1: a year until the marathon


In a year’s time, I’ll be running the Brighton Marathon.

When I first started running, a marathon was never my goal. Even when I did my first half marathon, the idea of doing a full one seemed ridiculous – people like me don’t do marathons, it’s too too far, the training would take up too much time, it’ll hurt.

But the idea slowly wormed its way into my head, and wouldn’t go away. I volunteered at this year’s Brighton Marathon, and at the briefing a few weeks ago I felt sad that I wasn’t running. So I signed up for the 2015 race.

I could’ve signed up for one happening sooner, but it feels right to have a whole year to train and to get to run in my beautiful adopted hometown.

I’m going to try to blog my way through the next 12 months to keep myself focused on and accountable for my training. (Especially when it’s hot or rainy and I don’t want to run, or when I’d rather plod than do intervals, or when I have DOMS from cross-training and want to stay on the sofa…)

For some people, a marathon isn’t that big a deal, and a whole year of training for it and blogging about it would sound like overkill.

For me, it’s huge. This marathon feels like an insurmountable challenge at the moment, and I want to focus on every little step I’m taking towards it, so that when the day comes around, I know I’m ready.

My first week’s training has consisted of:

  • Sunday 6th – volunteering at the marathon (training of a kind!)
  • Monday 7th – vinyasa flow yoga (Lucy the teacher is awesome and great with creaky runners)
  • Tuesday 8th – hot yoga
  • Wednesday 9th – 40 minute interval run
  • Thursday 10th – rest day
  • Friday 11th – 35 minute walk/run with Thom*, 20 minute threshold run
  • Saturday 12th – hot yoga later on.

This feels like a lazy week: no long run (I’m doing it tomorrow) and no crossing training. However, I’m pleased that I managed intervals and a threshold run – I was very lazy with them training for my last half and I really want to stick with them this time.

So there it is, week one of 52. Wish me luck.

*Thom’s my boyfriend. He’s signed up to do the marathon too – Friday was his second run, so he’s got an even tougher year ahead of him. Annoyingly, he’s taking to running much faster than I did, and will probably be better than me in a matter of months.